Unless you buy your awnings off the shelf at some retail store, every awning is custom-created. And of course you’d never consider using ready-made awnings for your franchise business, anyway. Undoubtedly your franchise information precludes such a thing, and besides, it doesn’t make good business sense. You wouldn’t want to look just like some other store down the street.
But simply because your awnings will be custom made doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to create anything you want. There are legalities you have to follow, no matter where you’re located. Those legalities could come in several different forms:
Your franchise information.
Standardization is what creates consistency in every aspect of franchise operations. That includes your awnings. Your company’s franchise information might outline very specific dos and don’ts, or it might give you only some general guidelines to follow. Even franchise awnings can’t be identical from store to store, because each physical location is different.
Municipal building codes and signage regulations.
This is where you’ll find the bulk of legal regulations that govern your awning. You’ll use your franchise information as a starting point, making sure that the details meet local codes. Safety and physical security are the usually the overriding concerns for municipalities, but these specifications are often written to create a general sense of continuity, too.
These regulations are likely to address:
- Projection distance.
- Style — sloped, rounded, etc.
- Materials – fire resistance or other special features.
- Design – what your awning can say in the way of words or graphics, how big individual lettering or other graphics can be, how much of the overall awning they can cover, even fabric colors.
You’ll probably find additional rules for special uses, such as sidewalk cafes. Check your franchise information to see if it, too, addresses outdoor or off-site awnings for your store.
And if your building has a historic designation, there may be more rules for that. InNew York City, for instance, landmark buildings often require that awnings be retractable, as they were in the old days, or at least be constructed to look like a retractable awning. There’s a good chance your corporate architecture and construction team would have avoided such a potential obstacle when helping you select a location for your store.
Municipalities require permits to install your awning, too. Skip that step and you’ll be liable for fines.
Specially-designated business areas.
You may have to modify your franchise information to comply with more localized requirements, too, if you’re located within a legally-constituted Business Improvement District, neighborhood business association or targeted economic development zone.
Your building owner.
It’s their building, and your awning will be attached to it, so they may have something to say about what how you apply your franchise information, too.
With all that in mind – and it can be mind-boggling – you’ll need the right professional partner to turn your franchise information into fabulous awnings.
You need an awning company that knows the rules and understands franchises. Awnings are too big an investment in your business to make mistakes, especially ones that are entirely avoidable. All the franchise information in the world won’t be as useful as having a reputable, experienced expert at your side. One who’s entirely conversant with the local legalities. One who’s equally conversant with designing and manufacturing awnings for franchise operations.
It’s their job to know the rules, wherever you are. Regardless of the source of regulations governing your particular commercial awnings, you’ll get knowledgeable, reliable advice on what you can and cannot do. The rules can be quite confusing. Wouldn’t you rather spend your time contemplating the creative aspects of your franchise information?
Good taste is always in style, whether legally dictated, specified in your franchise information or just common sense. You can show off your individuality and still meet all the legal requirements that affect your awnings.
Photo credit: ifindkarma via Flickr